EARLY— Early City Council members, city employees and citizens received a special tour of Early’s new wastewater treatment facility that went online Monday.
City Administrator Tony Aaron said the new system processed 180,000 gallons of wastewater in its first two days of operation and saves the city $1,000 per day considering the City of Brownwood previously treated Early’s wastewater.
“The total budget, when we started, was estimated to be $8.3 million for the wastewater treatment plant,” Aaron said. “… We came in considerably under budget. With the land acquisition, we’re going to end up with a project that is going to be about $6.8 million and leave us with close to $2 million that we’re going to do some sewer renovations and get some equipment like sewer trucks, vacuum Vac-Tron equipment, maybe a camera system and we still have to build a shop where we can house some equipment out there.”
The system is built in three parts, a lift station that pumps wastewater into a lagoon system, where a grinder shreds and distributes solid material and pushes the wastewater to the first lagoon. From there, naturally occurring bacteria treat the wastewater, which once full spills over into the next lagoon, then the next with the bacteria decreasing in strength until it reaches the final causeway, where the treated water is stored and later used to irrigate city-owned hay fields.
“The first day, we tied the two lines in and we had water flow through it at about 90,000 or 100,000 gallons, we may have missed a little bit,” Aaron said. “When we get the other one (operational), I would be surprised if we go over 150,000 at this point.”
Along with visiting the new wastewater treatment plant, city officials also toured the new City of Early Visitor and Event Center, where construction workers stacked bricks and mortar as the constructed interior walls Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s going to be about 5,000 square feet under the roof, and the court yard is somewhere around 20,000 square feet, which is all useable space,” Early City Councilmen Larry McCann said. “We will have sound systems throughout and we’re looking at using it for anything from movie nights to annual meetings, corporate meetings and things like that. We’re trying to get the school involved for Project Graduations and there has been a farmer’s market interested in [operating] every weekend in the summer … It’s very multi-use. It’s going to be a great facility as we move forward. It’s not going to be anything like the coliseum. It’s an intimate setting for business meetings and fundraising type events.”
Early City Council member Joel Johnson said events like Wednesday’s tour make his job much easier because he now has a better understanding of the new wastewater treatment plant and the new event center if he has to make a decision regarding the facilities in the near future.
“You have to see what is going on and how your decisions are implemented,” Johnson said. “This is very, very important because we can see what we’ve been talking about, sometimes lay your hands on it. Just to see it in action, now we know what’s happening and what’s going on. And it’s good to see the finished product and know we made the correct decision.”